Most women will have some appreciation for African mythology, that boasts many female goddesses and not only as companions to men but within their own right, as divine creators, powerful forces and mothers of nature, they control many aspects of life. Previously in Black Women Goddesses in African Mythology Part I, we took you through some of the best known goddesses that are not only mythological but still worshiped in certain African communities today.
Powerful, beautiful, charismatic, sensual, wise and nurturing are just a few words to describe the attractive personalities that have been adorned to some of Africa’s best know goddesses.
Goddess of love, sensuality and all the arts, especially dance. She is depicted as an old wise woman sad at the loss of her beauty or alternately she may be shown as tall, light brown-skinned, with wild sensuality. She is the patroness of rivers and the bloodstream and is known to carry river water in her pot. She wears seven brass bracelets, a mirror at her belt to admire herself and is accompanied by the primping peacock and cricket. Beauty is the domain of Oshun who represents the human ability to create beauty beyond need. It is also said that she is the carer of civilization, as great cities have been built, for the most part, alongside rivers in order to supply water to their population.
This goddess symbolizes welcome and is always placed above a door. Young women receive her image from an elder mentor as they come of age, welcoming them into their motherhood role in the tribe. In Togo, a giant Akwaba always precedes the chief in tribal procession, signifying that the Mother and reverence for Nature are the foremost communal values. Ladies first!
Nana Buruku she is the creator goddess of the Fon Nation and first Grandmother to all the Divinities and first human woman in the religion of the Yorubas. Here children are Mawu and Lisa the Cosmic twins, with two heads and one body. She also created Aido Hwedo, the rainbow serpent, as her companion.
According to the Fon story of creation, it was the god Olodumare who came down from the great Adobe of the Spiritual Realm, and breathed life into the earth. It was through the mysteries of the breath of Olodumare that Nana Baruku first came forth and took up residence within a clay figure, becoming the first living soul. Thus Nana Baruku was both great divinity, first of all ancestors, the great grandmother of the divinities, but also the ancient grandmother and progenitor of the human race.
Mawu is the Moon goddess known among the people from the Dahomey region of West Africa and the female aspect of the divinity Mawu-Lisa. Mawu is the female face who rules the night, whilst her sister Lisa is the male face who rules the day. Mawu is associated with the moon, night, fertility, motherhood, gentleness, forgiveness, rest and joy. After creating the earth and all life and everything else on it, she became concerned that it might be too heavy, so she asked Aido Hwedo the serpent companion of her mother, to curl up beneath the earth and hold it up in the sky.
Mbaba Mwana Waresa
She is the Zulu goddess of rain, agriculture, and the harvest. She is one of the most beloved goddesses of Southern Africa, largely because she is credited with the invention of beer. Mbaba Mwana Waresa is also the goddess of rainbows, a symbol of the link between heaven and earth, the gods and man. Mythology says that she could not find a suitable husband in heaven, so she came to look on earth. She came across a herdsman named Thandiwe, whose song moved her so much that she chose him to be her companion. Being mortal, he had to face many tests to prove himself, but he was at last accepted by Mbaba Mwana Waresa as her husband.
Please feel free to add your knowledge to this list in the comment section below or let us know of any African goddess that you believe are worth being mentioned in Part III.
Also can also see Black Women Goddesses in African Mytholodgy Part I.